Leimarel Sidabi

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Leimarel Sidabi
(Old Manipuri: Leimalel Sitapi)
Goddess of earth, nature and household
Member of Imung Lais
LEIMALEL.png
"Leimalel", the Ancient Meitei (Old Manipuri) name of Leimarel, written in archaic Meetei Mayek abugida
Other names
AffiliationMeitei mythology (Manipuri mythology) and Meitei religion (Sanamahism)
AbodeSanamahi Kachin (Lainingthou Kachin)[1]
ArtifactsWater pot (Isaiphu or Esaiphu)[2]
AnimalsTaoroinai
SymbolWater pot (Isaiphu or Esaiphu)[2]
TextsWakoklon Heelel Thilel Salai Amailon Pukok Puya, Leithak Leikharol, Leisemlon, Sakok Lamlen and many others
GenderFemale
RegionAncient Kangleipak (Antique Manipur)
Ethnic groupMeitei ethnicity
FestivalsLai Haraoba
Personal information
ConsortSalailen (Soraren)
ChildrenSanamahi (foster) and Pakhangba (biological)
Greek equivalentGaia
Roman equivalentTerra

Leimarel Sidabi (Meitei: ꯂꯩꯃꯔꯦꯜ ꯁꯤꯗꯕꯤ) or Leimalel Sitapi (Old Manipuri: ꯂꯩꯃꯂꯦꯜ ꯁꯤꯇꯄꯤ) is a goddess in Meitei mythology and religion of Ancient Kangleipak (Antique Manipur). She is the highest female divinity in Meitei pantheon. She is the goddess of earth, nature and household. She is the mother of everyone in the universe.[2][3][4][5]

Etymology[change | change source]

The Meitei word "Leimarel" (ꯂꯩꯃꯔꯦꯜ) or "Leimaren" (ꯂꯩꯃꯔꯦꯟ) is as "queen" or "goddess" in English. The word "Leimarel" (or "Leimaren") can be broken into pieces: "Lei" (ꯂꯩ), "Ma" (ꯃ) and "-ren" (-ꯔꯦꯟ) or "-rel" (-ꯔꯦꯜ). "Lei" means land or earth. "Ma" means mother. "-ren" (or "-rel") means excellent. Another Meitei word "Sidabi" can be broken into "Si" (ꯁꯤ), "-da" (ꯗ) and "-bi" (-ꯕꯤ). "Si" ("See") means "to die". "-da" denotes negative meaning. "-bi" ("-bee") denotes feminine gender.[6][7]

Description[change | change source]

Leimarel is the eternal mother goddess. In ancient times, the ruling royal couples sat in the Laplen Ka (the central room). They faced the sacred spot of goddess Leimarel. It was believed that men and women originated from Leimarel's womb. A house symbolises the Mother in traditional Meitei cosmic beliefs.[8]

Mythology[change | change source]

The supreme creator Atingkok (alias Salailel) asked his two sons, Sanamahi and Pakhangba to run in a race around the world. The winner would become the ruler of the world. Sanamahi was stronger than his younger brother, Pakhangba. He started his journey. Pakhangba wept to his mother, Leimarel Sidabi. She told him the secret behind the throne of the universe. The secret is that going around the throne of the Supreme Being is shorter than going around the universe. So, Pakhangba went around the Supreme Being, his father. Thus, he won the race and became the ruler of the universe. When Sanamahi returned home, he found his younger brother sitting on the throne. He got angry. He attacked Pakhangba. Pakhangba ran away. He hid himself among seven lairembis.[9][10] The Supreme Being intervened the situation. He brought peace of Sanamahi. He made Sanamahi as the king of the household of the mankind. At the same time, goddess Leimarel Sidabi became another Imung Lai (household deity), besides Sanamahi.[2][9]

According to some legends, goddess Ima Leimaren (lit. Mother Leimarel) takes care of the market. She brings peace and harmony by doing so. This tradition is still maintained by womenfolk. The women are considered as the descendents of the "Ima".[11]

Texts[change | change source]

Several ancient texts (PuYas) write things about the goddess Leimarel. Some include the Leimaren Naoyom, the Leimaren Langon, the Leimaren Mingkhei, the Leimaren Shekning Lasat, the Leimaren Ungoiron, besides others.[12]

Worship[change | change source]

Leimarel Sidabi and her son Sanamahi are worshipped in the first room of every Meitei household. Goddess Leimarel doesn't want the Korou Anganba (sunlight) in the morning. So, houses of Loi castes are mainly made facing southwards. She lives in water also. So, she is worshipped in an Isaiphu (an earthen pitcher or terracotta pot containing water).[2] There are no images kept to represent the two deities inside their abode.[13]

A senior woman or women of the house fills the earthen pot of the goddess with fresh water. She does this after taking a holy bath. Fresh flowers, fruits, vegetables and rice are offered. Prayers are also offered to protect the family members from every troubles.[14][15]

The maibas perform rites and rituals by chanting hymns dedicated to goddess Leimaren (ancestral mother goddess). It is generally done inside the house. Water, rice and flowers are mainly placed.[16]

Festivals[change | change source]

Goddess Leimarel Sidabi and her son Sanamahi are mainly worshipped in many religious occasions. Some are Cheiraoba and Saroi-Khangba. Cheiraoba is the Meitei new year (Manipuri new year) festival. Saroi-Khangba is a religious event to please the evil spirits.[17][18][19][20]

In Arts[change | change source]

The Leimarel Sheisak is one of the 9 singing styles (tunes) of Meitei tradition (Manipuri culture). It is sung during the festival of Lai Haraoba.[21]

Namesakes[change | change source]

In commerce[change | change source]

Ima Keithel (English: Mothers' Market) is the world's only women run market. It has 3 major complexes.[22][23][24] Leimarel Sidabi Ima Keithel is the Complex Number 1 of the market. It is followed by Imoinu Ima Keithel (Complex Number 2) and Phouoibi Ima Keithel (Complex Number 3).[25] This 500 year old market is in the center of Imphal, Manipur.[24]

In geography[change | change source]

The Leimarel Hill is a hill in Manipur. Trekkers go here for panaromic viewing of 360 degree of Loktak Lake.[26]

Related pages[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. Gitam, Kanishq (2022-01-12). Asatoma Sadgamaya A path for one. Blue Rose Publishers. p. 207.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Devi, Lairenlakpam Bino (2002). The Lois of Manipur: Andro, Khurkhul, Phayeng and Sekmai. Mittal Publications. p. 48. ISBN 978-81-7099-849-5.
  3. Meitei, Sanjenbam Yaiphaba; Chaudhuri, Sarit K.; Arunkumar, M. C. (2020-11-25). The Cultural Heritage of Manipur. Routledge. p. 221. ISBN 978-1-000-29637-2.
  4. Karna, Mahendra Narain (1998). Social Movements in North-East India. Indus Publishing. p. 200. ISBN 978-81-7387-083-5.
  5. Devi, Dr Yumlembam Gopi. Glimpses of Manipuri Culture. Lulu.com. p. 23. ISBN 978-0-359-72919-7.
  6. "Learners' Manipuri-English dictionary_Leimaren". uchicago.edu. 2006.
  7. "Learners' Manipuri-English dictionary_Leimaren Sidabi". uchicago.edu. 2006.
  8. Muthukumaraswamy, M. D.; Kaushal, Molly (2004). Folklore, Public Sphere, and Civil Society. NFSC www.indianfolklore.org. p. 70. ISBN 978-81-901481-4-6.
  9. 9.0 9.1 A Critical Study Of The Religious Philosophy. archive.org. August 1991. p. 71.
  10. Devi, Lairenlakpam Bino (2002). The Lois of Manipur: Andro, Khurkhul, Phayeng and Sekmai. Mittal Publications. p. 47. ISBN 978-81-7099-849-5.
  11. Kipgen, Tingneichong G. (2010). Women's Role in the 20th Century Manipur: A Historical Study. Gyan Publishing House. p. 32. ISBN 978-81-7835-803-1.
  12. Meitei, Sanjenbam Yaiphaba; Chaudhuri, Sarit K.; Arunkumar, M. C. (2020-11-25). The Cultural Heritage of Manipur. Routledge. p. 137. ISBN 978-1-000-29637-2.
  13. Bareh, Hamlet (2001). Encyclopaedia of North-East India. Mittal Publications. p. 247. ISBN 978-81-7099-790-0.
  14. Devi, Dr Yumlembam Gopi. Glimpses of Manipuri Culture. Lulu.com. p. 16. ISBN 978-0-359-72919-7.
  15. Devi, Dr Yumlembam Gopi. Glimpses of Manipuri Culture. Lulu.com. p. 32. ISBN 978-0-359-72919-7.
  16. Meitei, Sanjenbam Yaiphaba; Chaudhuri, Sarit K.; Arunkumar, M. C. (2020-11-25). The Cultural Heritage of Manipur. Routledge. p. 288. ISBN 978-1-000-29637-2.
  17. Devi, Lairenlakpam Bino (2002). The Lois of Manipur: Andro, Khurkhul, Phayeng and Sekmai. Mittal Publications. p. 49. ISBN 978-81-7099-849-5.
  18. Devi, Dr Yumlembam Gopi. Glimpses of Manipuri Culture. Lulu.com. p. 68. ISBN 978-0-359-72919-7.
  19. Bareh, Hamlet (2001). Encyclopaedia of North-East India. Mittal Publications. p. 183. ISBN 978-81-7099-790-0.
  20. A Critical Study Of The Religious Philosophy. archive.org. August 1991. p. 117.
  21. Khiangte, Zothanchhingi (2016-10-28). Orality: the Quest for Meanings. Partridge Publishing. p. 169. ISBN 978-1-4828-8671-9.
  22. Gupta, Om (2006). Encyclopaedia of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Gyan Publishing House. ISBN 978-81-8205-389-2.
  23. Shivhare, Vishal (2016-08-17). Vyapar Shastra. Jaico Publishing House. ISBN 978-81-8495-898-0.
  24. 24.0 24.1 Singh, Dr Th Suresh (2014-06-02). The Endless Kabaw Valley: British Created Visious Cycle of Manipur, Burma and India. Quills Ink Publishing. ISBN 978-93-84318-00-0.
  25. "All-women Imphal market reopens after 10 months". m.timesofindia.com.
  26. Singh, Arambam Sanatomba (2021-06-18). Ecotourism Development Ventures in Manipur: Green Skill Development and Livelihood Mission. Walnut Publication. p. 87. ISBN 978-93-91145-59-0.

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